I think this quote is true of all people and that’s why I have been thinking a lot about change. Our lives change daily with the dawn of a new day! Sometimes, we’re not even aware that something has changed until after it’s all done!!
Our spiritual lives greatly changed on July 1, 2013. What have we learned since St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa, St. Joan of Arc and Ascension were merged into Holy Innocents?
More confirmation that nothing stays the same. God’s love and call is a constant beckoning for us to change, to grow closer to Him, to be more like Him. However you answer that call is between you and God.
- Our Parishes were pretty much “stand alone islands” and that made it more difficult to support and help each other;
- The glory days of the Church in Philadelphia were long gone yet those years are exactly the ones we yearned for;
- Religion can both unite and divide us;
- Being taught that “We are one Body in Christ” doesn’t make it so;
- We had the responsibility and the duty to “Keep the Faith in Frankford” and to preserve it as best we could;
- The faith of the laity suffered but true faith is enduring; we better appreciated the efforts of those who built these parishes and paid for these parishes and we would not let them down;
- Money talks – even in our houses of worship; and
- Still, as we sing a favorite hymn, “All Are Welcome”, are they really?
We are the Church and if we expect the Church to change, we have to change, hard as it is. We have to be vulnerable, to open our hearts and to invite others in. If we look at our Patron’s statue, his hand is out-stretched and he is in motion, stepping out in greeting.
I started thinking about all of this because this year, St. Joachim’s Annual Feast Day Mass will be bi-lingual which it should have been. Even here in Chincoteague, I’ve been told and I sense that some people may not attend because of this. Or they will attend grudgingly but at least they will attend.
Another reality recently shared with me was after last week’s English Mass at St. Joan of Arc, Father Higgins had a meeting with folks to tell them that the attendance at both the English Mass and the Spanish Mass had dropped off. He would allow them time to build up Mass participation until Advent and if not, a real possibility of those Masses being stopped. It wouldn’t be easy, the right things to do never are, but if those folks don’t try to come together, both will lose. Today, we need every prayer we can get!
We’re not going to have a longer Mass because it’s bi-lingual but we are going to have a celebration together to include St. Joachim’s rich diversity. With more time of planning, I could have included even more cultures, our African American, Asian, and other brothers and sisters to truly be a multi-cultural Mass. God-willing, we will have time for that. Keep the Faith in Frankford’s motto is, “We believe our diversity is our community’s greatest strength”. Together, we can build the kingdom of God.
We are trying something new. We are trying to change. We are trying to be the people who have answered God’s call to serve each of His “beloved children of God! We are trying to mean what we say when we sing “All Are Welcome” in this place.